Patra's Other Place

I started out with Patra's Place, primarily dedicated to my linen collection and stitching projects. But I kept getting side-tracked, so I decided to create Patra's Other Place for anything not related to embroidery topics. So you now have a choice. If you are interested in me, read this. If you only want to see my linen and stitching, visit Patra's (original) Place! (Please note that by clicking on any of the photos, they will be enlarged to fill your computer screen.)

My Photo
Location: Melbourne, Vic., Australia

I am married to Ken. We have no children except two cats and a collection of finches, canaries and Rhode Island bantam hens.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Birthday week continued.

The week has improved somewhat since I posted on Sunday.  My back improved dramatically, helped by Aldi's Shiatsu  machine, bought the week previously!  So I was able to give my talk at the Probus club on Monday.  It was only a few minutes, explaining how and when I started patchwork and quilting, and what led me into making quilts for charity.  Then I introduced Yaso who spoke for over an hour about her work in PNG, and the audience was enthralled.  I doubt if they'd had a speaker like that before, and they gathered around her afterwards to say how much they enjoyed her talk.

On Tuesday I drove over to Blackburn to collect my birthday present.  Ken was supposed to be with me as it is his gift to me, but he was having a bad day with his breathing, so I suggested that he stay in bed while I went over there on my own.  Just as well, because the artist who painted the picture for us invited me to stay for a cuppa, and we found so much to talk about I stayed there for about 2 hours!  Ken was grumpy when I got home, telling me he'd made three phone calls to friends because he had nobody to talk to...WTF!!!  He was asleep when I left - how did I know he'd wake up the minute I walked out the door?  Men...
This is the painting.  Marilyn is an 'amateur' artist who paints to relax.  I have only seen one or two other artists who can successfully paint glass (bottles, jars, etc) like this, and one of them is Hilary Jackman, whose work is in the National Gallery  (as well as in Eltham where she was born) and most of her paintings are priced into the thousands of dollars...  Marilyn was reluctant to sell this picture, so she painted it again for me so she could keep the first one!  We have to get it framed in due course, then find a spot for it to hang.

On my birthday (Wednesday), Ken had an appointment at the Austin hospital for his regular defibrillator check up in the morning, and after that we stopped in Eltham to do a bit of shopping, then came home to the sound of hammering and banging while our side fence was being rebuilt.   It had been there for 40 years, so it's done well, but was literally falling down, so our neighbours agreed with us that the whole thing should be replaced.  It was strange in the yard when the old fence had been pulled down.  The boys next door came out to play, and thought it was great to have this HUGE back yard for a few hours!

We went out to dinner that night with our friends Louise and Mark, as we have been doing for many years, as their wedding anniversary is on the same day as my birthday.  We went to a new restaurant (actually an old one under new management) and had a great night.  Nice food and lots of laughs.. Stupid me, I forgot to get the camera out until we'd finished the meal, hence the empty table!  Ken and I are on the left, for those readers who don't know what we look like ;-)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Birthday week.

We are having one of our side fences pulled down tomorrow, and a new one built.  I was moving stuff around on the patio to clear enough space for the workers to bring timber into the back yard, when I lifted something that was far too heavy for me, and...oh, my back....Ken came out and told me off for doing it without him, but he's had his own problems with the shingles, so I didn't ask for his help.  La la la....we are both getting old.  I've also got a stye on my right eyelid which is starting to disappear but is still irritating, and looks horrible.

I'm due to present a talk tomorrow (Monday) at Warrandyte Probus club, about how I got involved making quilts for charity.  Ken's cousin Yaso is also going to speak about how the quilts I have collected for her are distributed among the native PNG tribes for their babies.  Ken rang her tonight to advise her that I  may not be there tomorrow, if my back is still bad, as there is no way I could drive, let alone stand up and give a talk, the way I feel now!  I've taken two of Ken's super strength pain killers, and tomorrow I'll take two Voltaren tablets, so I'm hoping all those will ease the pain and allow me to get to the meeting, as I've been looking forward to it.

On Tuesday we are supposed to be collecting a painting that was commissioned by us last year.  I should be okay if Ken drives over there.  It is going to be my birthday present from him.  My birthday is the next day, and in the morning we will be at the Austin Hospital for Ken's quarterly defib. check.  If we are both feeling okay and the weather is nice, we might go somewhere for lunch.  We are going out to dinner with friends that night, so I'd better be feeling a whole lot better than I do now, otherwise I will be a bag of misery.

Well, now that I've done my whinge for the week, I got something achieved today before I stuffed my back.  I made three handmade cards for the DTE swap coming up later this month, so I'm all organised.  You can see them on my craft blog here.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Montsalvat, the Eltham artists' colony.

Every time I visit Montsalvat, I enjoy it more.  I've been there a few times in the past few years to view exhibitions, or just have coffee and cake with a friend.  I went there today with a friend who called me last night to tell me that the current exhibition was closing, so we should go and see it before we miss out. I'm so glad she called - it was a perfect day, the exhibitions were great, and the coffee and cake delicious!
The peacocks and peahens that roam the grounds are quite tame.  This poor fellow has been moulting and lost his tail, and all that is left is fluffy bits!

Not supposed to take photos of the exhibits, but I wanted to show this to Ken, as I'd like to buy it, but need his approval for the price ticket of nearly $800!

Some views of the buildings in the grounds of Montsalvat.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

New hens for the chookhouse.

Ken is slowly improving, but still has a lot of pain internally from the shingles, so is on strong pain killers, which make him drowsy.  So he has to wait until the effect wears off before he can drive, otherwise he just skips the medication so he can drive when fully alert, even if in pain!  Today we went up to Launching Place where we bought six bantam hens from a man that Ken knows from the local Poultry club.  The  new girls are really cute, and Ralph the Rooster is quite taken with them!  He didn't take any notice of his other hens once we put the new ones into the chook house - he was clucking around them once he got over the shock of having a whole new tribe to deal with!  You can see photos on my Birds in a Back yard blog.

Friday, March 06, 2015

More illness for Ken.

Ken has shingles.  He was in pain last Friday and Saturday, and he was supposed to go to the air show on Sunday but was too sick to get out of bed.  In the afternoon he showed me a rash on his back and chest and I knew straight away what it was.  I've never had it, but my Dad did, and when I was a council home carer, some of my clients had it, so I know what it looks like.  On Monday  the doctor confirmed my guess of shingles and put Ken on antiviral medicine for 7 days. He said it was just as well we consulted him in the early stages, as if shingles is left too long without treatment it can last for months or even years. I was  supposed to be on volunteer duty at the Embroiderer's Guild on Tuesday, but I really couldn't leave him alone all day. He said he would be okay,  but if it was me in so much pain I wouldn't be happy about being left on my own all day. It's more moral support, isn't it, when you aren't well. Even though you are on medication and it's just a waiting game until you start to get better, it is just nice to have your loved one with you making cups of tea and sympathetic noises.

Ken had an appointment at the Austin for his quarterly defibrillator check up on Wednesday, but when he phoned them to see if he should come in, the answer was a definite NO!  They didn't want him in the waiting room for hours with all those other sick people!  His car was due back at Mantello Holden today for another recall fixit, and he said he was feeling well enough to go.  He left at 7 am to get there by 8, and was home by 10 am.  While he was gone I whipped the sheets and pillowcases off the bed and washed them and his pyjamas in very hot water.  It was cold outside today, but very windy, so I got everything inside by lunchtime. When he got home, he was exhausted, and all he wanted to do was get undressed and back into bed, so I was glad that I'd changed the bedding in time.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

This month.

Been a while since I posted anything here, so I have decided to publish a catch up post.
Our front yard has been such a mess, with all the winds we’ve been having over summer.   I thought I should at least rake all the leaves and twigs up. The thought of bending over and picking up the leaves to put into the bin made me feel ill, so when I saw our neighbour about to drive off with her oldest son, I called out over the fence to ask what the younger two were doing, and if they would like to earn a bit of pocket money. She said they would and when I asked how much to pay them, and would $10 be enough, she said "More than enough!" The two boys (12 and 14 approx.) appeared within minutes bringing their own rakes and gardening gloves, and their green wheelie bin. I raked, and they scooped everything up and piled it into the two bins. The yard was cleared in about 20 minutes - I was so grateful! I had $15 and two $50 bills in my purse, so I gave them the $15 and they ran off happily! Their Mum told me later I was way too generous! but if ever we needed help again, just call out.  Ken came home from Bunnings just as the boys were leaving with their bin and rakes, and he was as pleased as I was to have the yard cleaned up. So nice to have such kind (and young and fit!) neighbours!

My niece Susan's oldest son Peter was married last weekend and we attended the wedding with about 100 other guests. The church is a modern 'hall' type Anglican church (no spire, organ, or church pews as I remember them), and it seems that people can do their own thing and set it up however they like for a wedding.  Peter  is the president of the local brass band, so they were there to provide the music. He and his new wife  Lizzie set the church up the day before, with chairs covered in fabric and a bow tied around each chair. Afternoon tea was provided after the wedding in an adjacent hall, while caterers converted the church hall into a reception room with trestles and chairs, and a spit roast. 
 Here I am with Peter and his lovely bride Lizzie.  They are both tall, and I feel like I've shrunk when I see myself in photos next to taller people!

We had opted not to stay for the reception when we accepted the invitation, but stayed until about 5 pm circulating among the rellies, most of which we hadn't seen for a few years (apart from my brothers and their wives), and it was fun to catch up with the younger members of the family who had all grown about 2 feet since we last saw them as kids! It was so hot, as there was no air conditioning, so Ken and I were glad to get home and flake out in our nice cool home (we'd left the air con running while we were out. Thank you Mr Solar!)

On Sunday afternoon we visited Ken's cousin David and his wife Yaso, who live in Clifton Hill in a terrace house that was built in 1873 or thereabouts.  They are renovating it inside, but sympathetically to it's age, and it is looking fabulous. We piled 70 baby quilts in the back of the ute and delivered them to Yaso, who works with the PNG native people, and organises the distribution of our quilts to their babies. I was so pleased to get rid of all those boxes and bags out of our spare room!  We had a lovely afternoon tea with them, and Yaso showed me some of the saris she has brought back from her last trip home to Malaysia to see her mother.  She wants me to make a quilt from the saris but I’m reluctant to cut into such beautiful silk fabrics, so I’ll take it to some patchwork groups and see what they can advise.

Ken has been selling some of his Gouldian finches and quails, which helps to make room for all the newly hatched babies.  He bought two Princess Parrots recently and they are such a change from the smaller quiet finches;  We love hearing them chortling away to each other.

We had been having a cold drink while sitting watching the birds one day recently, and Tiger jumped up on the table and knocked over my empty glass.  He looked so guilty, I had to take a photo!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Melbourne Cat Cafe.

I was in the city with Ken today. He goes to a barber in Hardware Street every six weeks, and in recent months I've been driving him in and dropping him off there. Instead of him having to find somewhere to park then possibly have to walk a long way back to the barber, which he is unable to do now because of his breathing problems, I would rather find somewhere to park, and walk back to wait for him, then go and get the car to pick him up. Anyway, that's the background to me being in town today!

 For some reason, I remembered the Cat Cafe the other day, and decided that instead of hanging around waiting for Ken, I'd drop him off then go and find the Cat Cafe, which opened last year. I'd been meaning to go there ever since, but in the end just forgot about it until now. It isn't that far from Hardware Street, so I got a park on Queen street and walked up to it within about 2 minutes. Stayed there for half an hour and walked back to pick up Ken who had just finished having his hair cut. It wasn't quite what I expected, thinking there would be an actual cafe on the premises like in other countries, but I do remember reading that the Melbourne city council arked up about food being served among the cats, and so possibly the owners lost that battle. All the cats are on the first floor in various rooms, and if you want a coffee, a member of the staff brings it up to you from the ground floor. I didn't bother about coffee, as I was going to have a coffee with Ken later, so it only cost me $5 for half an hour. The usual fee is $10 just to spend an hour there!! Thought that was a bit rich, but apparently it is booked out for months ahead. I forgot you were supposed to book, and when I walked in off the street, the guy wasn't going to let me in, but when I said I'd only want a quick look because my car was on a meter, he relented and let me go up for half price. I asked why people needed to book, and he said they only allow a certain number of people up at one time so as not to stress the cats. There were only about 6 or 8 people up there when I went up, and about 10 cats. I bought a heap of kitty souvenirs. Ken said "What did you buy all that for?" and I said because it was cute LOL! Here are some photos:

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